2020 has been an unprecedented and eventful year for the entire world with the coronavirus pandemic affecting the lives and livelihood of millions of people. While Bhutan wasn’t spared from the damaging effects of the pandemic’s rage, the manner in which we have been able to respond to the crisis and mitigate its impacts is nothing short of divine. The selfless and unparalleled leadership of His Majesty The King, and the collective thoughts and actions of the government and the people throughout this pandemic have set us a world apart in terms of how we sail through turbulent times as a nation.
As we welcome the New Year 2021 with renewed hope and vigor, we reflect on the past year with a deep sense of awe. Amidst the disruptions and pains caused by the raging pandemic, we discovered opportunities to come together and serve, to do everything within our means to protect our country and fellow citizens, to introspect on our blessings and vulnerabilities as we aspire to emerge better and stronger out of these diffiuclt times. At least in Bhutan, we have seen that politics takes a back seat in the face of a crisis, and good governance gains truer meaning and focus. More than anything else, we have realized how blessed a country we are under the magnanimity of a visionary king.
At RIGSS, while most of our regular programs for the past year have been inevitably affected by the pandemic, we were bestowed with a higher responsibility of serving as the COVID-19 Control Centre in the south, with the high-level Southern COVID-19 Task Force operating from the institute since March 2020. Given the strategic importance of Phuentsholing as the country’s key trading hub accounting for three quarters of its total trade, RIGSS indeed became a decision-making nerve center for the entire country in combatting the pandemic and mitigating its impacts.
On the research front, the institute has been able to launch the “RIGSS Alumni Research” this year. Inspired by His Majesty’s command that we draw lessons from this pandemic to strengthen ourselves as a nation, assorted alumni groups have conducted in-depth research in some of the areas that are most crucial to our economy, security and wellbeing.
As a tribute to the dauntless 40th birth anniversary of His Majesty The King, the institute also launched the RIGSS Podcast. The RIGSS Podcast is a forum for knowledge sharing and intellectual discourse with the luminaries of leadership, governance and democracy aimed at providing a deep dive into the minds that are making a difference, locally and globally. As the world goes virtual, the RIGSS Podcast found its rightful time and place.
With the arrival of the vaccines, there is so much hope that we will see the end of the pandemic soon. We surely can’t wait to see that happen; we have come through a lot this past year and there is so much to carry forward as we move into the hopeful era of a new dawn.Wishing everyone a fulfilling new year ahead.